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Diversity

DEFINITION

  • Diversity: Acknowledging and accepting different backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, thinking styles, religious beliefs, communication styles, education, parental status, and sexual orientation, to name a few, without judgment or presumption. At the organizational level, organizations examine policies, procedures and structures to identify those barriers that keep people who are different from succeeding.

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Focus on increasing diversity among legal staff.
  • Basic awareness of diversity being "the right thing to do".
  • Rules for advancement or promotion are unclear among attorneys.
  • Company-wide affinity or employee resource groups for different ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and management level.
  • People of color feel underutilized and not respected by staff and clients.

SENIOR MANAGEMENT

  • Articulated business case.
  • Commitment from general counsel to promote diversity.
  • Senior management consults with human resources to produce a plan to meet company-wide diversity goals.

STRUCTURE

  • Person(s) within law department or human resources assigned responsibility for monitoring business unit's progress on diversity.

RECRUITMENT

  • Work with executive search firms to fill positions as they become available with qualified minority and women attorneys.
  • Numerical goals for demographic representation set and communicated to human resources.
  • Goals include short-term (1-5 years) and long-term (6-10 years) targets. They are defined based on availability within the applicant pool.

RETENTION

  • Educational training on awareness of issues of minority and women attorneys.
  • Informal mentoring for new hires.
  • Work/life initiatives to meet needs of attorneys with family commitments.

EXTERNAL DIVERSITY

  • Encourage outside counsel to increase diversity and to assign minorities and women to company legal matters.
  • Statement of Principle Signatory.

METRICS

  • Job offers/refusals.*
  • Length of tenure.*
  • Number of voluntary terminations.*
  • Cost per hire per recruiting source (for example, executive search firm vs. internet job posting).
  • Litigation costs by complaints/ grievances.
  • Demographic representation at different management levels and practice areas (for example, number of minorities and women at key management positions).

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